Flowering Onion

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Lawn & Garden

Alliums, commonly known as flowering onions, produce vibrant blooms in a range of colors and some even have a surprisingly sweet fragrance. Check out our bulb garden pictures to see for yourself.

Despite their name, these ornamental plants do not have an unpleasant smell unless they are cut. In fact, some varieties are sweetly perfumed. Alliums are great additions to any garden because they fill the gap between bulbs that bloom in spring and those that bloom in summer. Most alliums will flower for several weeks in June and July.

Alliums come in a variety of colors, including pink, white, blue, purple, and yellow, and can grow to be quite tall or stay small. Their leaves, which are often a beautiful blue-green, appear in early spring but tend to fade away by the time the plant begins to bloom. Alliums are very easy to care for.

To grow flowering onions, plant small bulbs 3 to 4 inches deep and larger bulbs 6 to 8 inches deep in a well-drained, sunny area. In colder climates, it is recommended to mulch them over the winter.

Alliums can be propagated through division or seed. They make great border plants and are ideal for rock gardens. The taller varieties also make stunning cut flowers. If you soak the stems in cold water for 10 minutes, you can remove any remaining onion scent. Alliums can be used in a variety of beds and borders.

Some other species of alliums include Allium giganteum, which produces huge 6-inch globes of purple flowers on top of 3- to 6-foot stems and may require staking. Drumstick allium (A. sphaerocephalum) bears 2-foot stems with smaller clusters of reddish-purple flowers. Blue garlic (A. caeruleum) is similar but has blue flowers. Yellow allium (A. moly) produces yellow flowers in loose clusters on 10-inch stems. A. neapolitanum is similar but has beautifully perfumed white flowers; however, it is hardy only to USDA zone 6.

The scientific name for flowering onion is Allium species.

Want to learn more about flowering onions?

  • Discover the basics of flower and plant bulbs in this article about bulbs.
  • Get started with gardening basics by reading our guide to gardening.
  • Find everything you need to know about bulb gardens in our Q&A.
  • Learn about the different types of gardens and which one is right for you.


What is a flowering onion?

A flowering onion, also known as an ornamental onion, is a plant that produces large spherical flowers that resemble an onion. These flowers come in a variety of colors, including purple, pink, white, and yellow. They are commonly grown in gardens and used for landscaping purposes.

How do I plant a flowering onion?

Flowering onions are typically planted in the fall. They prefer well-draining soil and should be planted in a location that receives full sun. The bulbs should be planted about 6-8 inches deep and should be spaced about 4-6 inches apart. Once planted, the bulbs should be watered thoroughly.

How do I care for a flowering onion?

Flowering onions are relatively low maintenance. They should be watered regularly and fertilized once a month during the growing season. After the flowers have died back, the foliage should be allowed to yellow and wither before it is removed. This allows the bulb to store energy for the next growing season.

Can I eat a flowering onion?

While the bulbs of a flowering onion are edible, they are not typically used for culinary purposes. The bulbs of ornamental onions are typically smaller and less flavorful than those of edible onions, making them less desirable for cooking.

Are flowering onions toxic?

Flowering onions are not toxic to humans, but they can be toxic to pets. The bulbs contain compounds that can be harmful if ingested by cats or dogs. If you have pets, it is best to keep them away from flowering onions.

Do flowering onions attract bees?

Yes, flowering onions are known to attract bees and other pollinators. This makes them a great addition to any garden or landscape, as they help to support the local ecosystem.

How long do flowering onions bloom?

The bloom time of a flowering onion can vary depending on the species and growing conditions. Typically, they will bloom for several weeks in late spring or early summer. After the flowers have died back, the foliage will continue to grow for several more weeks before dying back as well.

What are some popular varieties of flowering onions?

There are many different varieties of flowering onions, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular varieties include Allium giganteum, Allium schoenoprasum, and Allium ‘Globemaster’.

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